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  • US and China Agree to Halt Ivory Trade

    In a historic accord to save Africa’s elephants from out-of-control poaching, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping agreed Friday to end commercial ivory sales in the United States and China.

    The announcement marks the first public commitment by President Xi to end ivory sales in China, the world’s largest market, and follows a pledge made by Chinese officials in May to phase out the domestic trade. It also puts heavy pressure on Hong Kong, a global hub for commercial ivory, to ban its legal trade — one that has provided cover for smuggling and illicit sales of ivory from African elephants poached in recent years. A recent survey found that over 90% of ivory sold in Hong Kong was being smuggled into mainland China. 

    A White House fact sheet released Friday confirms the agreement, full text below:  

    Wildlife Trafficking: The United States and China, recognizing the importance and urgency of combating wildlife trafficking, commit to take positive measures to address this global challenge. The United States and China commit to enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant and timely restrictions on the import of ivory as hunting trophies, and to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory. The two sides decided to further cooperate in joint training, technical exchanges, information sharing, and public education on combating wildlife trafficking, and enhance international law enforcement cooperation in this field. The United States and China decided to cooperate with other nations in a comprehensive effort to combat wildlife trafficking. 

  • Helping to keep corruption out of the aid supply chain

    Drum Commodities Limited provides logistical services and risk control for aid agencies across Africa and the Middle East. Services also include warehouse auditing, stock controls and fumigation provision. Here Jethro Freeman, Business Development Manager for Drum Commodities Limited discusses their new expansion into working with the aid sector.

    EU countries are well-known for their aid provision. Yet a lot of people are unaware of the amount of aid that goes ‘missing’ before it ever reaches its final destination, getting swallowed up in the black market or slipped into the back pockets of local lower-tier officials along the way.

    No one is immune to this problem. Just last year, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) gave the UK’s Department for International Development amber-red rating for not doing enough to tackle corruption in the aid supply chain. And while we certainly need a more holistic, global approach to tackling it, the ICAI also found that most of the big agencies don’t yet have the means to audit their relief (as has been shown in Nigeria and Haiti). At the very least, they could do much more to ensure they mitigate the risk of it getting to those that need it the most.

  • Providing communities with safe water when it’s needed most

    By Oliver Duncan, Humanitarian Adviser at LIFESAVER - The provision of clean potable drinking water is the crux of any humanitarian relief response, but supplying it can often be challenging and nearly impossible to achieve. By partnering with agencies like Oxfam, LIFESAVER systems ensures that people can access safe water when it’s needed most. Our technology has the smallest pore size of any filter on the market, meaning that LIFESAVER water is both bacteria and virus-free.

    Every year, 30 million people are forced from their home by natural disasters and conflicts and a further 200 million are affected by natural hazards.  A quick, easy, cost-effective, and sustainable solution for making dirty water safe and drinkable is needed every day. Natural disasters often cause wide scale devastation, so the reinstatement of clean Water and Sanitation (WASH) is key for those families affected, whether they’ve been forced to flee their homes, or are starting to rebuild.  

    Oxfam has established itself as a leading international agency in the delivery of WASH solutions and central to this is their WASH response programme, which is aimed at helping communities affected by water shortage in humanitarian emergencies and long-term development scenarios. Essential WASH items such as water tanks, pumps, water treatment equipment, and latrines are stored in Oxfam’s warehouses and can be delivered to a disaster area within 48 hours.

  • Red Rose – making aid add up in Nigeria

    "Administering aid can be challenging given the remoteness of many of these conflict or disaster zones. Yet new off line solutions are beginning to become available and being used to good advantage, as Jerry Cole from Red Rose explains."

    NGOs regularly need ways to respond to those affected by conflict or disaster, giving displaced people financial independence, as opposed to handing out aid in the form of rations. Given the surge in conflict zones over the past few years in war-torn Africa and the Middle East, this need looks set to continue. Until now, aid has generally been administered through paper vouchers, but they have their drawbacks. They can be stolen, lost or torn and they are fiddly and time-consuming to administer.

    Not satisfied by using paper vouchers system, post-crisis humanitarian organisation, Mercy Corps, contacted us because they wanted to change the way they provided access to basic services and commodities in Nigeria.

    And the new format of using electronic vouchers has made a world of difference for both the beneficiaries and the shopkeepers serving these communities.  

    The system works by distributing e-vouchers to the beneficiaries personal smartcards [PIN protected], called The ONEcard, in place of the previously used paper vouchers. The shopkeepers have handheld Android handsets, which allow them to calculate and complete transactions through the ONEapp. So what would have been a lengthy process of counting up and processing the vouchers can now be done with the click of a button.

  • International Rivers Newsstream

    Success: Belo Monte Dam Denied Operating License

    The problems with Brazil’s controversial Belo Monte Dam are long and storied. Earlier this month, the Brazilian government recognized the egregious abuses (particularly around compensation and resettlement) and denied the dam consortium an operating license. That means they can’t close the gates and start flooding land. What happens next?

    No Need to Cut the Planet’s Arteries to Save Her Lungs

    The US and China recently released a much-needed Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change. The plans to phase out fossil fuels and strengthen climate resilience are positive, but Chinese and US climate policies should not include any support for large hydropower projects. Read our response to the Presidential Statement.

  • New UNICRI specialized course: Investigating Crimes against the Environment

    The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) is organizing a new course focused on crimes against the environment. The course, which will be held at the United Nations Campus in Turin on 21-22 January 2016, is tailored to journalists and chief information officers, as well as those who want to specialize in this area. This unique specialized opportunity aims to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of current environmental threats and associated issues such as sustainable development and human rights, offering also an opportunity to network with renowned international experts.
    Given the many complex and interacting aspects, the course aims at deepening knowledge of environmental issues while also contributing to raise awareness and promoting a call for action to prevent crimes against the environment.

    In particular, the course addresses:

  • The Global Goals for sustainable development

    On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders will commit to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change. The Global Goals for sustainable development could get these things done. In all countries. For all people. The more people who know about the Global Goals for sustainable development, the more successful they’ll be. If we all fight for them, our leaders will make them happen. So they need to be famous. We’re working to get the Global Goals onto every website and billboard, broadcast on every TV station and radio station, in every cinema and classroom, pinned to every community noticeboard and sent to every mobile phone. But that won’t be enough. We need your help to share the Goals. In conversation, on e-mail, in debate, on products, at home, at work, at school – whatever it takes to Tell Everyone.

    If the goals are going to work, everyone needs to know about them. You can’t fight for your rights if you don’t know what they are. You can’t convince world leaders to do what needs to be done if you don’t know what you’re convincing them to do. If the goals are famous, they won’t be forgotten. We can be the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most

  • AIDF Global Disaster Relief Summit' 15 10-11 September | Washington DC, USA

    For the 7th year running the Aid & International Development Forum organizes an event bringing together NGOs, UN and multilateral organizations, government agencies, donors and the private sector to address how new technology inventions impact humanitarian relief operations. This year's expert speaker panel will discuss Innovations in Emergency Communication & Coordination, Communication with Communities, Electronic Payment Models for Aid Operations, Data Collection, Analysis and Management.
    more details at: more details at: